Registration for the 2015 Wall Street Decathlon — an annual event where some of the strongest and fastest people in the financial services industry compete for the title of “Wall Street’s Best Athlete” — opened today! (It usually sells out in a couple of days).
In June, athletes will complete a 400-meter run, football throw, pull-ups, 40-yard dash, dips, 500-meter row, vertical jump, 20-yard shuttle, bench press, and an 800-meter run all within a span of four hours.
In the past, the competition has included former professional football players and former college athletes.
The annual event raises funds for pediatric cancer research and treatment at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The Decathlon has raised more than $US4.6 million.
We caught up with some of the top finishers from this year’s event. They were kind enough to share some of their training and nutrition tips.
Jay Li, Trafelet Brokaw (2nd place)
Li’s Workout: “I think it’s important to train for every event — that’s also what makes the event so challenging, because it tests your abilities in a number of ways. Muscle memory is critical to performing well (getting used to each event), as is training your body to deal with the specific stresses that each event presents. I have days marked for lifting, running, rowing, etc. with each workout tailored to a goal — some workouts are endurance-focused, others are more anaerobic. Recovery is also important, so I do have rest days too. Once you get sick of the workouts, that’s when you know you’re close to being ready!”
Nutrition: “I’d say that my diet doesn’t change….it’s primarily focused on getting enough protein and complex carbs so that I can train hard and my body gets the nutrition it needs to keep up. For someone my size, that means about 200 grams of protein daily — some from supplements, and let’s just say I eat a lot of chicken.”
Collin Zych, Cogent Partners (3rd place)
Zych’s Workout: “I workout 6 days a week, usually 1-2 hours during the week and 2-3 hours each weekend day. During the week, I workout in the mornings (usually get up around 5:30). My work hours sometimes get a little crazy, so this is the only time I know I have available. Also, nothing beats the post-workout feeling as I sit down at my desk in the morning. I like to schedule a workout on Saturday morning, mostly to keep myself from drinking too much on a Friday night haha. If my body is too sore, I will take a day off. I used to try to train through the aches and pains, but it just isn’t smart. The last thing I want to do is get hurt.
“I belong to a local CrossFit gym (CrossFit Deep), where I do most of my lifting. I don’t always agree with their programming (burpees are stupid), but I can lift heavy and drop weights and be loud there. There are also some great athletes to compete with.
“I have a football training background, so that makes up the meat and potatoes of my training. Bench press, Olympic lifts, heavy squats and deadlifts. I do not do body part splits. “Arms Day” is stupid. Every day is Leg Day in some shape or form.”
- I do 2-3 days of sprint work per week. This consists of jumping/explosiveness drills, flexibility work, and 100% effort starts and short sprints. I do this at the local track or in parking garages (great for hill sprints) if I’m stuck at the office. I’m terrified of not being fast, it’s weird.
- I will spend a little bit of time on “skills” every day — things like rowing form, jump rope double-unders, handstand holds. My most recent projects are muscle-ups (a pull-up into a dip on hanging rings) and snatch (the Olympic lift)
- I try to do some dedicated conditioning 2-3 per week. To me, this means running (treadmill interval sprints, 100 yard sprints, etc.). I also do CrossFit circuits as part of the gym’s programming (refuse to call them WODs or METCONs) which incorporate combos of lifting, running, jumping.
Nutrition: “Since I’m sitting at a desk for sometimes up to 100 hours a week, I try to be as healthy as possible when at the office. Some rules: try to bring prepared lunch as much as possible, only fruits/veggies as snacks, only drink water or milk during the day. I don’t follow a strict diet, but instead try to shoot for 6 “100% healthy days” a week. I define that as no alcohol, as much sleep as possible, and clean diet (meaning lean proteins and carbs mostly from fruits and veggies). I give myself 1 day a week to eat/drink whatever. This usually ends up being Saturday. This usually ends up being pizza. This usually ends up being beer.”
Jennifer Lidel, TradeLink Securities (1st place)
Lidel’s Workout: “My normal workout routine is an alternating schedule of cardio only days and weight training with cardio days. I use various types of cardio including running, swimming, bike riding, elliptical machines, and stair climbing, and there is always an interval component to the cardio workout. Each weight training day I focus on a different muscle group (for example legs, back and biceps, and chest and triceps) and then I always end with abs and a session of stretching. As we get closer to the decathlon I start doing event specific training and when the weather allows I attempt to log as many track workouts as possible.
“I, like nearly everyone else in this event, have a very stressful job. My exercise routine is how I deal with that stress. It is as important of a part of my day as brushing my teeth. I make time to exercise and the people I work with know and respect that. Our firm invests internationally and we basically have risk 24 hours/day, so I hit the gym in the short period of time between the US market close and Asia open.”
Nutrition: Nutrition is important all year long but a lot of people find it especially hard over the holidays. I am a very clean eater and the trouble I have is with quantity this time of year. It’s difficult for example, when your family is constantly setting out the high calorie nuts to snack on all day. If you must have your “naughty food” just make room for it in your diet. Don’t be afraid to splurge on a Christmas cookie, or your favourite carb trio of rolls, mashed potatoes, and stuffing, but be sure to do it in moderation. Let the naughty happen at a couple of special meals and not the entire 4 days you might take for the holiday. You can’t outrun your fork.
Setyadi’s Workout: “The Decathlon is tough, mostly because you need to do well in every single event. It’s important to have an honest idea of where you’re starting from, so test yourself for a baseline. Then set ambitious (but achievable!) goals. Most importantly, prepare a training schedule over the next 5 months, keeping in mind that this should be a flexible schedule that you should modify continuously based on your progress. Again, you need to prepare equally for all 10 events, so a well-planned schedule is essential. However, be careful not to over train; minimising or avoiding injuries is equally as important.”
Nutrition: “Minimize processed foods, and incorporate as much fresh protein, produce, whole grains, etc. into your diet. Women especially should increase their protein intake… don’t worry about “bulking up” because it won’t happen! Instead you’ll build lean muscle, which may add a couple pounds but overall will greatly help your performance. However, over the holidays, enjoy yourself (without going overboard). There is plenty of time between now and the Decathlon to get some less healthy holiday treats out of your system, so relax and enjoy this time of year.”
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